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Where to find a tag based file manager?

Anything similar to this available? I have run into limitations to organizing requests into various nested folders. I am interested in the ability to organize files in various ways and keep track of them over time. In some sense I would like something like a project management system but actually built into the filesystem/browser so I can save files from various tools and easily organize by contact, organization, topic, createddate, file groups, etc without having manually upload files to a tool. Browsing files later I'd like to be able to pull everything back up and be able to view in various ways for example organize files by day and see what was done on a certain span of time, or see all files for a contact, etc.

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marked as duplicate by afrazier, Synetech, Diogo, Dennis, soandos Jul 20 '12 at 22:05

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This is exactly what WinFS was supposed to be, but the project seems to have been put on the back burner by Microsoft. Specifically, you're looking for a Relational File System, as opposed to a Hierarchical File System (what most everything is currently) –  Darth Android Jul 19 '12 at 14:06
    
@afrazier: not really a duplicate since the question refers to a lot more than just tagging. –  Julian Knight Jul 19 '12 at 17:28
    
Yup; this has been a massive thorn in my side for years. Do you put a photo of a cat playing the piano in the Cats folder or the Funny folder? Like Darth said, WinFS was supposed to be (one of the first) database filesystems which would have at the very least helped to resolve this sort of conundrum, and it was supposed to be part of Vista, but it has been all but cancelled, leaving us still looking for a way to sort and organize files. :-( –  Synetech Jul 19 '12 at 17:38
    
@JulianKnight: I'm not seeing it. Everything in the question refers to tagging files with bits of metadata and then being able to filter/browse the filesystem based on the metadata. Inferring that the metadata should be key-value pairs instead of simple values doesn't significantly change the nature of the request. –  afrazier Jul 19 '12 at 18:00
    
@afrazier: I guess that to me a tag is a form of meta-data not the other way around. A tag is a way of adding some meaning like "cat", "blue", "sunset". Meta-data is wider than that and includes dates, geolocations, etc. Semantics perhaps but this seems to be the accepted meaning. –  Julian Knight Jul 19 '12 at 19:47

1 Answer 1

There are certainly tools like this.

The better document management systems allow for files to be uploaded to a folder structure and will sort out the meta-data required.

There are non-general tools as well. Check out Google's "Picasa" picture management tool which works as you've described. It monitors a set of folders for new images and automatically indexes and cross-references the meta-data. Any changes to meta-data are written back to the files in a standard way using EXIF and IPTC meta-data standards so that the files remain fully portable.

Your implication though is that you want to do this without the use of tools. This is not possible since non of the OS's are built this way natively. You would as a minimum need to use a replacement "explorer" interface that understood how the meta-data was being indexed and managed - hence the need for a document management system. The other issue is that decent DMS's don't come cheap. Of those that do have free versions, the majority will now be web browser based - such as Mayan and these are rarely as comfortable to use as a native interface.

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